Louisiana Creationism Repeal Fails in Committee

We have bad news. You can read about it in the Advocate, the major newspaper in Louisiana’s capitol city of Baton Rouge.

Their story is titled: Senate panel refuses rollback of evolution law The headline pretty much tells the tale. Here are some excerpts:

A state Senate committee Thursday afternoon rejected a bill that would repeal a 2008 law that critics say could change the way evolution is taught in public school classrooms. The measure, Senate Bill 70, failed in the Senate Education Committee. The vote was one for the repeal and five opposed after nearly two hours of discussion.


State Sen. Karen Peterson, D-New Orleans and sponsor of the bill, said the law allows the replacement of accepted scientific theories “with fiction and conjecture” and hurts Louisiana’s academic and business reputation. “It is fundamentally embarrassing to have the law on the books,” Peterson told the committee in closing comments just before the vote.


The lone “yes” vote for the repeal bill was state Sen. Yvonne Dorsey, D-Baton Rouge. Those voting “no” were state Sens. Ben Nevers, D-Bogalusa and chairman of the committee; Conrad Appel, R-Metairie; Julie Quinn, R-Metairie; Jack Dona-hue, R-Mandeville and Gerald Long, R-Winnfield. The bill was then shelved without objection.

That’s the way it goes. For background on all of this, see: 41 Nobel Laureates for Repeal. But who cares about Nobel Prize winners? Teach the controversy!

Louisiana retains its standing as the most ignorantly-governed state in the US.

To the supporters of the repeal bill, especially Zack Kopplin, we say it was a good cause and you gave it a good try. But there’s a lesson to be learned here: Politicians don’t know and don’t care about science; they’re motivated only by votes and money. Always remember: Don’t bring a slide rule to a knife fight.

Update: See Discovery Institute: Ecstasy Over Louisiana #2.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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16 responses to “Louisiana Creationism Repeal Fails in Committee

  1. I don’t know why they even bothered to discuss it for almost two whole hours… they could have had a church service or two in that amount of time.

  2. I’m glad I don’t live in that state, or have children attending school there. The Senator who sponsored the repeal bill called the law “fundamentally embarrassing”. That says it all, I think.

    The five board members who successfully killed the repeal effort can presumably return to more pressing concerns, like weaving straw into gold and reading pig entrails. Nice to know the future doctors and scientists of Louisiana are in such good hands.

  3. Watching the proceedings live I can say that, in my considered opinion, the people speaking in opposition of repeal represented typical creationists who displayed scientific ignorance, misrepresented science and were ostensibly promoting religion. It was embarrassing to watch this parade of clowns, yet they prevailed.

    Of course, regardless of what happens in any given school district, whether they teach creationism and get sued, the legislators who voted for keeping the LESA won’t be held either responsible or accountable. Who gives a rat’s ass? Good eatin’ as they say in Loseranna.

  4. The one good thing is we have a strong support base built up. We’re going to have strong House and Senate bills with bipartisan co-sponsors for the next attempt. We will have more kids actively involved in leading the effort.

    I’ll also be on Hardball tomorrow night about this issue.

  5. Zack Kopplin says: “I’ll also be on Hardball tomorrow night about this issue.”

    Great! If I remember, I’ll be watching. You did good, Zack. Really

    I know that you know this, but when you’re on TV, don’t bash the opposition. Just smile and say that they’re good people and you understand their position … but perhaps their advisers haven’t informed them that (blah blah blah).

  6. I’ll be watching. I used to enjoy Hardball “B.O.” (before Olbermann), back when MSNBC still paid lip service to impartiality and journalistic integrity. I hope Chris Matthews gets over his “tingly leg syndrome” and comes back to the adult table. I miss him.

    I also think you did great, Zack. What college(s) are you applying for? Ones outside Louisiana, one would hope…

  7. Ben Nevers is chair of the education committee? Oy….

    Keep up the outstanding work, Zack! If you’re headed to Harvard, MIT, or elsewhere in Boston please let me know.

  8. Hey, Zack, do me a favor. Tell Chris Matthews to STFU so you can talk. “Are you done, Chris? Can I get in a word edgewise?”

    Srsly, that guy does go on. Worse than me. Almost.

  9. You don’t have a future! Take a slide rule to a knife fight? How about being prepared to take nothing to a sword fight:

    If only.

  10. Always remember: Don’t bring a slide rule to a knife fight.
    You’ve said this enough that the wisdom of it is starting to stick.

  11. @Zack

    Thanks again. Not that you need to hear it from me, but I’ll say it anyway:

    Keep up the fight, and see my comment on the last thread about writing to the politicians. As you know, this is not the time to stop.

    As for Curmudgeon’s “don’t bring a slide rule” I agree 100% and add that I think that complaining about religion is tantamount to bringing a slide rule, i.e. self-defeating. In fact we need to bring “nerve agent” (which I worked with back in the ’80s). If this is an “arms race” (with the evolving anti-science strategies) we must use science to keep ahead. As Paul Gross famously said: “Everybody who has undertaken in the last 300 years to stand against the growth of scientific knowledge has lost.”

    By “nerve agent” I mean such things as correcting the massive misconception that teaching only that which has earned the right to be taught is some sort of “censorship.” The anti-science activists have been spreading that meme for decades and getting slicker than ever at it. In reality, and I fully understand how counterintuitive it is to most people, inlucing most non-Biblical literalists, but academic “freedom,” and it’s similarly illegitimate “siblings” (“strengths and weaknesses,” “critical analysis”) are the real censorship. It’s long overdue to expose that secret.

  12. I’m going to Rice next year, and I think someone is standing in for Matthews tomorrow, so no worries about him talking too much.

    About the committee hearing, we were up against a very hostile audience, and at one point Quinn would ask a question, then cut off any response to declare no one could answer it.

  13. Zack Kopplin: “About the committee hearing, we were up against a very hostile audience, and at one point Quinn would ask a question, then cut off any response to declare no one could answer it.”

    Hmm…What was I saying about censorship?

  14. Note Quinn’s slick wording, that no one was taught anything other than what they consider pure science. Well duh, if a student wants to believe astrology, and that is taught, they will consider it “pure science.” But even if creationism, ID or the phony “critical analysis” was not yet, the law is still terrible because it makes it easier in the future to peddle such misrepresentations of science.

    Remember Dover. Vote them all out. And as a Republican I add: “in the primary.” As a conservative, I find that this law grossly liberalizes science education by giving a handout to those who have not earned it.

  15. Frank J says:

    As a conservative, I find that this law grossly liberalizes science education by giving a handout to those who have not earned it.

    That’s well put. Yes, it’s affirmative action for pseudo-science..

  16. I leave for a day, and this is what happens.

    @Zack: As Renee (in a comment on your blog) said, “Rock on with yah bad self!” Continue to do that. Continue rocking on. As SC suggested, don’t get bitter, don’t get defensive, just get better organized, continue building up the momentum, then steamroll over’em!